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This week in the Iowa Capitol was quite the opposite of last week. Last week was funnel week, which meant a lot of committee work and not a lot of floor action. This week, only a couple of the committees had meetings, and the rest of the time was devoted to floor action. We passed over 60 bills through the House, delivering on many of the promises House Republicans made to their constituents in November.

Additional Action on Child Care
This session, we’ve been very aggressive in addressing the child care crisis in Iowa. This week, we passed our 7th and 8th bills of the session to help tackle this issue.

  • HF 606 creates additional tax incentives for employers to invest in an onsite daycare option for employees.
  • HF 712 creates a child care incentive for developers to construct more child care centers.

We know that this issue is one that requires a multifaceted approach. These two bills are just a piece of a legislative package brought forward by House Republicans to increase the child care workforce, increase provider rates to maintain existing child care facilities, provide incentives to develop new child care facilities, and help hard-working families afford the high cost of child care.

Greater Access to Mental Health Services
Next to child care, the most common thing our members heard about on the campaign trail was the need to increase access to mental health services in Iowa. We passed two bills in the Iowa House this week that help address this issue.

  • HF 294 requires health insurers to reimburse for mental health services provided through telehealth at the same rate as services provided in-person. This will be a huge help to all Iowans, especially those in our rural communities.
  • HF 773 is a bill to create a statewide study of Iowa’s mental health services. This information will help identify opportunities to better serve Iowans suffering from mental illness. This is also the first step in requesting an 1115 Waiver from the federal government, which would provide additional funds for services to treat mental illness.

Supporting Victims of Sexual Assault
We didn’t stop there. Of the many bills passed this week, two were bills to help support victims of sexual assault.

  • House File 426 creates a tracking system for sexual abuse evidence kits in Iowa. The bill also requires the victim to be notified if a DNA match is found for a potential assailant.

House File 603 creates the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program. This program trains, certifies, and provides technical assistance to certain medical professionals on how to provide medical forensic services, including the sexual assault abuse kits.

Author: Pat Grassley


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